We’re still enjoying fall throughout most of the state, but snow has started to fall on our mountains and there’s a crisp chill in the air that can only mean one thing: snowy Oregon adventures are here! In November, we’re snowshoeing to alpine lakes and exploring ancient underground lava caves. We hope you’ll join the fun – just don’t forget your headlamp!
Snowshoeing is an easy way to get around in the snow and what better place to learn how to navigate your oversized feet than at Crater Lake. Sign up for a ranger-led interpretive walk where you’ll learn about the lake’s winter ecology. Tours occur every weekend from December through April.
Just 30 miles south of Crater Lake is Pelican Butte, situated just above Klamath Lake. Come here for the scenery of the Klamath Wildlife Refuge and keep your eyes peeled for osprey flying up and down the wide basin.
Explore the marble hallways of the Oregon Caves National Monument, where a geological wonderland of chambers and narrow passageways await. Though it may be chilly outside, the caves remain temperate year-round at 42 degrees Fahrenheit. You can go on your own or sign up for a ranger-led tour to learn about the geology, fossils and history of the caves. In November, rangers lead tours Friday through Monday and close operations at the end of the month until early March. Explore Central Oregon‘s vast wilderness with Wanderlust Tours, which can take you on a customized snowshoe adventure on Mt. Bachelor and in the Deschutes National Forest. The Bend-based company provides all the gear and will teach you the techniques for off-trail snowshoeing. If it’s an underground escapade you seek, sign up for lava cave tours and follow a naturalist to learn about the caves’ geological history.
At the base of Mt. Hood is Trillium Lake, where the vast blue expanse of the lake creates a picture-perfect setting to circumnavigate. On your way up, be sure to make a pit stop in Sandy to rent gear and grab a donut from Joe’s.
Wilsonville resident Teri Smith knows Oregon backcountry snowshoe trails well and has led workshops and tours throughout the West Coast. Read about her favorite Oregon trails here.
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